Francophile theatre-goers are in for a treat this spring. The Arcola Theatre in Dalston is bringing to life one of the most famous French novels of all times: La Peste by Albert Camus, adapted and staged by multi-award-winning director by Neil Bartlett.
Written on 1947, The Plague is an electrifying story about living through a time of crisis and fighting back against despair.
Neil Bartlett says: “Seventy years after its publication, the central question posed in the novel has never felt more urgently contemporary; what can we find in our hearts to get us through the impossible and the overwhelming?
In the novel, one of the characters famously says:
‘I decided to not be one of the people who keep silent, but to speak up and bear witness; to put on record what it is you learn when you live through a time of plague – that there is more to admire about people than to despise or despair of’.
Wether we agree with Albert Camus or not, Neil Bartlett is right in thinking that now is a ‘good time to try and find a way of speaking those words in public.”
We wish the cast and crew at the Arcola all the best. Break a leg! Or, as we say, ‘merde’! We will be there.
For those of you who would like to read the book in French: Foyle’s in Central London, has paperback copies, otherwise you can easily find it online.
The Plague runs at Arcola Theatre from 5th April to 6th May
Extract in French
Le docteur Rieux décida alors de rédiger le récit qui s’achève ici, pour ne pas être de ceux qui se taisent, pour témoigner en faveur de ces pestiférés, pour laisser du moins un souvenir de l’injustice et de la violence qui leur avaient été faites, et pour dire simplement ce qu’on apprend au milieu des fléaux, qu’il y a dans les hommes plus de choses à admirer que de choses à mépriser.
Vocabulary and expressions
rédiger : to redact, to write
récit : the tale
ceux qui se taisent : those who stay silent
témoigner : to bear witness, to testify
des fléaux : epidemics, plague
plus de choses : more things
mépriser : to despise